Video game addiction is now officially recognised as an illness

Video gaming-123RF

In a new draft of the International Classification of Diseases to be released on Monday, addiction to video games will officially be recognised as a mental health condition.

Dr. Levounis said he suspects the American Psychiatric Assocation will elevate gaming disorder to full-recognition status in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The pattern of gaming behavior may be continuous or episodic and recurrent.

In South Korea and the United States, clinics have sprung up to treat video game addiction, along with community and online support groups. The increased risk may be from the frequency of gaming, from the amount of time spent on these activities, from the neglect of other activities and priorities, from risky behaviours associated with gaming or its context, from the adverse consequences of gaming, or from the combination of these.

Key symptoms include "impaired control" - notably the inability to stop playing - and focusing on the game to the exclusion of everything else. They continue on to assure the masses that playing video games for hours on end doesn't necessarily mean you have the disorder, the situation must be much more serious than binge gaming. "We welcome the inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11, which will over time help to understand the true prevalence of harmful gaming". In most cases, all symptoms - including detrimental effects on one's personal life - must be observed over a span of 12 months.

About 2.6 billion people around the globe play video games on a regular basis, and while it has been proven that gaming can be beneficial, many people have also become addicted. Housing almost 55,000 medical issues, the ICD-11 is used for clinical care, research, and is rarely given major revisions, so it is a legitimately big deal that gaming addiction has been added to its pages. Gaming disorder was considered for inclusion based on scientific evidence and the recommendations of experts around the world.

Additionally, WHO lists both online and offline gaming as a disorder, but the former can be an enriching experience as users can forge friendships and even romantic relationships through multiplayer games.



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